Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Obama appointee, issued a temporary injunction against the ObamaCare contraception mandate. The law forces employers, including those with religious affiliations, to provide health insurance, including coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. The injunction went into effect just hours before the mandate did. Sotomayor gave the Obama administration until 10 a.m. Friday to respond.
In this particular case, Sotomayor’s injunction protects a group of Catholic nuns based in Denver:
In her order, Sotomayor said the government is temporarily prevented from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements against the Denver-based group, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, and must respond by 10 a.m. Friday.
Several organizations, including the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Catholic University and the Michigan Catholic Conference, had asked justices to block the law until their arguments were heard. Parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, go into effect on Wednesday.
On that day, “a regulatory mandate will expose numerous Catholic organizations to draconian fines unless they abandon their religious convictions and take actions that facilitate access to abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization for their employees and students,” lawyer Noel J. Francisco had said in appeals to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan.
The government will now have to make a case that this delay hurts them more than forced compliance will hurt the interests of a group of Catholic nuns.
With its contraception mandate, the Obama administration has put religious employers into an impossible situation: They can either violate their conscience and comply with the law or face crippling fines of $100 per day per employee.
With the lower courts split over the issue, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the contraception mandate sometime this year.
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